WHS Training: What Training?

The answers to this question are not always obvious. The main places to look for the answers are in the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act), the Work Health and Safety Regulation (WHS Regulation), and any Code of Practice that applies to your workplace. Here are 3 examples of WHS law that are relevant to the need for training. 1. The “Primary duty of care” of a PCBU requires that they “must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable”: “the provision of any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking,” (WHS Act Section 9 (f)). 2. The “Duty of Officers” requires an Officer of a PCBU to exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU is complying with the WHS Act such as, “ensuring the provision of training and instruction to workers about work health and safety” (WHS Act Section 27 (5)(e)). 3. Managing Risks to Health & Safety A PCBU has a duty to manage risks in the workplace, which includes identifying hazards, assessing the risks, controlling risks and reviewing control measures (WHS Regulation 34-38}. If you assess the risks of a hazard and work out how to control the risks then you could identify any need for training that is needed in respect of that hazard. What Training Should Officers, Workers and Others Receive? As a start:

  • Any person who may be exposed to a risk in their workplace must be trained in handling that risk. It is an essential part of the PCBU’s duty to minimise risk so far as is reasonably practicable. Ask yourself ‘What risks exist in this workplace?’ The answers will lead you to what training, if needed, should be done. 

  • All Workers (including team leaders, supervisors and managers) need to be trained in matters relating to health and safety in their work area such as; the elements of risk management, safe work procedures, consultation procedures, emergency procedures, the proper use of personal protective equipment etc.

  • Anyone in your workplace; the PCBU, Officers, Workers, and Others, must be trained as needed in what they must do to satisfy their WHS duty of care. 

  • In a number of situations the WHS law specifies what training must be done eg. first aid, high risk work, emergency response procedures, HSRs etc.

Note: 1. Hazards The Hazard Library on SafeWork NSW’s website could be a useful resource for you. (copy/paste this url in your browser) https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/hazards-a-z 2. Reasonably Practicable You may also find that the Safe Work Australia Guide, How to Determine what is Reasonably Practicable to meet a Health and Safety Duty, is a useful resource.

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